Syracuse loss tough to swallow, baseball can’t come fast enough


Empty. It’s the best way to some up the feeling surrounding the Syracuse basketball season. After a brilliant run through the Big East and to a No. 1 ranking, it’s all over. Poof. The six-month long season ended in a matter of 40 minutes Thursday. The Orange put together a sloppy performance and was upset by the Butler Bulldogs. A season that could have been so much is now finished. The players and fans were left in disbelief. With Syracuse’s basketball season over, there’s only one thing left to look forward to this semester: baseball.

As one season comes to a close, the Major League Baseball season is just getting started. The Cardinals open up on April 5 in Cincinnati. Albert Pujols will be mashing home runs again. Derek Jeter and the Yankees will go for another ring. Roy Halladay will be blowing away the competition in Philly. And summer will be here to stay.

I’ll be able to forget about the devastating end of this basketball season for a while as I watch the boys of summer take the field again. The great thing about sports is that the seasons go in a cycle. As basketball finishes up, baseball begins. When the World Series crowns the champion in November, the Orange will back on the floor again chasing after the dream. So, until November comes, baseball will be my focus. Hopefully, the 2010 MLB season ends with my favorite team celebrating rather than disappointing. And if not, the cycle will begin again and I’ll hope next year’s Orange cut down the nets.

With baseball in mind, here’s some news concerning the Cards just before the season.

The Cardinals lost to the Nationals 7-4 today. Washington hit a bright spot in an otherwise dismal spring. Ivan Rodriguez hit a home run and Willie Harris collected three hits to lead the Nats. Adam Wainwright put in some extensive work, throwing 84 pitches. He went six innings giving up five runs (four earned) while striking out eight. It was an up and down performance, but the ace looks fine and should be ready to go when the season begins. His eight strikeouts compared to no walks is a big plus as he puts the finishing touches on his spring. Albert Pujols did not play, but he is expected to play in the next three. The Cardinals said he is healthy – no worries Cards fans.

-Yadier Molina has also had some injury trouble this spring. He is out with an oblique injury, and continues to feel better. It is unlikely that he will play again this spring, and he may miss Opening Day. He is optimistic that he will be behind the plate April 5 in Cincy. It’s still up in the air right now, but it shouldn’t affect much of the season.

Former Cardinal Jim Edmonds made the Milwaukee Brewers 40-man roster as a backup outfielder. Edmonds should serve as a mentor to the young players and give them a lift as a starter when needed. He hoped to make his comeback with the Cardinals, but didn’t fit into the team’s plans.

-Rich Hill has been pretty bad this spring for the Cardinals. With each passing day, it is beginning to look like Hill won’t make the Cards roster. Hill has an ERA of 6.30 this spring. He will have to continue working to make it back to the majors. The fifth spot will likely come down to McClellan and Garcia. Tony La Russa planned to make the announcement by this Sunday.

So, as I try to forget about last night’s game, I look forward to a full season of covering baseball here on Redbird Rants for FanSided.

Earlier this week, Michael Engel joined Wally’s staff on Kings of Kauffman. He is a Kansas grad, who asked for some understanding surrounding his team’s failure in the tournament. “Just please — no Northern Iowa jokes.” I was tempted to bring up Ali Farokhmanesh and have some fun with it. It’s always fun until your team is upset. Now, I know what he and Jayhawk nation felt like. Perhaps two of the best three teams all season are now sitting at home. I guess that’s part of the fun in March Madness. It just wasn’t fun this year.

Michael, at least Farokhmanesh’s three was pure. No question about it as he put the game out of reach. Farokhmanesh did it to UNLV too. He is a big-time shooter.

Syracuse was beat by two shots that weren’t exactly cold-blooded. Ronald Nored shoots 17 percent from three and he drains one to cut the lead to 54-53. Then Willie Veasley put the game out of reach at 58-54 with a three that needed to hit the backboard to go in.

The shock still hasn’t worn off. Baseball season can’t come fast enough.